November 29, 2005

Am I becoming anti-HINDU?

No, not an anti-HINDU as in Mu. Ka. As anti-Brahmin, but as in I-HATE-THE HINDU NEWSPAPER…I don’t really know. But THE HINDU is slipping away in its level of reputation and image it had in me. So it seems like in many other people as well.

<a href=""> Chakra </a> today sent me this link <a href="">about THE HINDU's "inadvertent lifting of NYTimes inspired article on Alexander" </a>

Some obvious questions that pop up are:
1. Is the Editor-In-Charge so much allergic to internet, they don’t read articles from other newspapers' online versions?

2. Did the author think that readers of THE HINDU are so internetologically so impaired and web-access wise so challenged like China, UAE or any other fundamentalistic nation that the readers cannot recognize direct lift-offs from foreign newspapers?

3. Did the author realize he violated the copyrights, and he could be easily implicated by law, and so the relevant Editor-in-Charge? Running to Bangalore this time may not be useful.

It is a pity, we are such a big democratic country, no press control, no censorship, still we do not have a single quality national newspaper (TEHELKA is not a newspaper, it is a refined and more honest JUNIOR VIKATAN); no unbiased one like THE TIMES (as in UK) or like NEWYORK TIMES;

THE HINDU used to be quite different in good few years back. The least we can expect from THE HINDU is either true writing or atleast credit for relevant places from where the content is being lifted. If it cannot be done, least they can do is reduce the premium charged by THE HINDU as cost of the newspaper.

Google News is free, so must be THE HINDU!

(PS: Last time, similar thing happened in my office - lift off pieces of Java program from open source software, the respective Tehnical Architect was fired; Another colleague quipped that such a thing happened in his previous project with an international bank, Police came and arrested the Architect and Manager in the office itself.)

November 28, 2005

New SUN TV show - MK acting in "Just for jest"

MK is playing his favorite gameline which as every Tamilian knows is "Anti-brahmin" line.

{Those who don’t understand the HEAD or TAIL what I am ranting, please read last one month's newspaper and come back here…a context would be obtained}

Recently, his comment about Mrs. Suhasini's support for Khusboo is something like that. He further stated that this feedback was of DPA's voice. The communist parties immediately rebutted saying this is neother DPA's comment, nor does communist parties subscribe to it. They further called for MK not to tag the pre-marital sex issue in casteist lines.

In his usual way, MK responded saying "he was mis-quoted" and "mis-understood"…and apparently, he said this in a jest.

No wonder politicians make good jesters.

Some of the key things to note here are:
1. MK did not have any personal comment about Khushboo. Was it because of the gentlemanliness that disagreeing with a viewpoint doesn't necessarily have a personal attack thingy…absolutely not! It is his little calculation about minority community vote to which Khushboo belongs.

2. MK did not condemn the cheap behavior of TAMIL CULTURAL PROTECTION GOONDAs in the wake of Khushboo's appearance in courts. Because MK's mind would have calculated "The people who displayed such boorish behavior " are from his own alliance members. Condemning them would mean giving the alliance parties a chance to pressurise him during seat negotiation or even threats to pull-outs. Already MK is devastated by the popularity of these political parties, which use the same tactics he had used long back.

3. MK chose to crack a passing comment on Suhasini's community - not on Suhasini's comments; Because he knows the brahmin community is the one which will "vaayaiyum, adhaiyum moodindu pova..."! MK's favorite political game is this. But this time, he is careful. Having looked at condemnations like this from Communist parties, he is quick to recover and state it is all mis-quoted and a jest. Because given other jaathi (caste) parties' increasing popularity, he doesn’t want to tag anti-brahmin line and lose those votes as well. Otherwise, MK would have made a statement to the effect "Suhasini yellam avaa..avaa mattum tamil jananganu ninaichundu irukka..ithu yenna sankara madam-a?"

MK - Multi calculation Karunanidhi

Having withdrawn Dayalu ammal (MK's wife) share from SUN TV, apparently MK is thinking of releasing a new weekly English mag from the house of Murasoli as reported by Vikatan. I am not able to resist this piece of sarcasm - why do they(DMK) need a weekly, when they already have a daily in English? ENGLISH MURASOLI aka  THE HINDU

November 25, 2005

White November...

Yes, it has started snowing in UK. This is the first time, I have seen the snow season twice in the same year!

November 23, 2005

Chaos, corporates and the work culture!

Recently, I was forwarded <a href="">this article</a>, written by Harshad Oak. It is all about the IT work environs in India - I subscribe to most of the views.

If what is written there is TRUE, there is a new trend emerging in today's IT Corporate Culture - especially in India. Here is something, one of my mentors shared with me - which is sadly true. More of degeneration.

We all live out of confusion. Corporates exist out of confusion, thats the way we all have jobs. This funda was given to me when I was in xxxxxxxxx.

The more the confusion, the better and more are the job prospects. I also learnt that if there is a problem, don't try to solve it. Send out status to all concerned, escalate, call for meetings, ask for a risk management plan, create issue tracker, do all the things but don't solve it. This way, you have a job, your manager has a job, and other people have a job to do. Amazing, isn't it?

Well, I have reached the threshold, but am managing well and I have also started following the fundas I generally give to all. I am also contributing my share to the confusion and all seem to be happy with me. Life sucks otherwise.

Painfully I am experiencing this too all around. Perhaps, it is time to go the way like Shankar Mahadevan (quit Oracle to become a full-time musician), Gowtham (engineer who quit to make movies), Shashi Chimala (who sold his Indigo Technologies and started Qwikys), those IT guys who started "Chakkara pongal restaurant in TNagar"…or maybe perhaps, take a leaf out of <a href=""> Bala's latest venture </a> (fellow blogger who quit his IT job, and happily doing a course on HISTORY at Madurai Kamaraj University)

November 18, 2005

Do I qualify to rant about THE HINDU?

Considering my previous post about THE HINDU, my language looks poor because I wrote without a spellchecker, and in one shot, without organizing my thoughts. Basically, it was an outburst.

As a true journalist, one of THE HINDU associate has pointed out about my writing (in) capability. (Reference: COMMENTS section of post on THE HINDU)


My rant is not untrue, however. It is an outpour of feelings.

As I mentioned, THE HINDU is like an English MURASOLI or like an English NAMATHU MGR. Proving this rant, in a true DRAVIDIAN PARTY style, THE HINDU associate:

· has chosen to divert the issue of poor standard of reporting - my actual issue
· has turned the rant into a personal blame game (narrow-minded etc.)
· has chosen to generalize the degeneration and arguing nothing wrong in being de-generated; not only that, but also further classification of my concerns as being narrow-minded.

· has simply brushed away the facts by simply attacking the person who wrote it, rather than looking at a counter view

· so sad, has unnecessarily crowning me as spokesman to diss THE HINDU
· further, forgetting the fact that this is my blog, and blogs were supposedly a journal where the owner records his/her own thoughts. So, I do think I have a right to express my feelings in my blog. However, THE HINDU person thinks what qualifications have I, to write such things.

And by the way, I am not the person who thinks low of THE HINDU, as I have mentioned is my aathangam.

True, I have looked around myself in India, and that is why, I have talked about the degeneration I have seen with my own eyes - TV, AANANDA VIKATAN so on and so forth. This does not, in no way, justify yet another valued newspaper to take to that path. Well, if THE HINDU precisely does that, I can do nothing. I am not a MORAL POLICE.

The fact that the comment chose not to address what I have written, does not imply that "spelling errors" or "wrong words" are rampant; THE HINDU is also becoming filled with just Movie junk articles, sensation finds a priority over smart reviews, so on and so forth.

The online publication is not a big journalistic wonder as well. There are expectations when a national newspaper goes online. THE HINDU belies all that, and in fact, prefers to earn money through Google Adsense. Even the so-called sensation Tamil dailies like DINAMALAR and DAILY THANTHI web versions have more to offer. There has been no visible improvement in THE HINDU website as well for past 2-3 years. To start with, there are no district-wise editions. No classifieds.

It is indeed true that the layout of THE HINDU has vastly improved as they embraced new techniques from a leading international newspaper consultant. But can THE HINDU claim the same with quality of their news articles?

Do you want facts? Take this…Oru paanai sorukku, oru soru padham…first time ever, on THE HINDU, there was an article on blogging. To quote this as an article without any depth is an understatement. The reason? This blogging article was about Bloggers from Chennai and none of the famous bloggers/blogs like Selective amnesia, Kiruba, Lazygeek, Ramz, Pavithra were mentioned in that article. Instead, we read about some blogs and bloggers, whose names were not heard of in Chennai Blogging cricles. This article was similar to the kind of "opinion articles" written by magazines like kumudam, kungumam etc. They interview their neighbours and friends, fill up four pages and call it an "article"…bah…!

My spelling error on my website can easily be corrected. When I am out of my outburst mood - edit it a bit, check spelling manually - it can be updated. (I am not going to do that… Instead, let my impulsive outburst remain the way it was created.)

Same cannot be said of the facts I have quoted about HINDU as an avid reader of HINDU. This is my rant, disappointment with THE HINDU.

I do not want to do quality assessment of all other English papers in India. For one, I have not read other newspapers regularly to comment on their perceived quality. And for next, because I am gifted with something called a BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTION, I am exposed to many other blog sites and leading websites and good news aggregators like GoogleNews, I get my better dose of good articles.

There is no point anyway.
Let me recount a small anecdote that happened in my school - guess Chakra would remember it as well.

When I was in our sixth/seventh standard, I did not have fluency in English language. My English teacher used to say "Children, you must all read THE HINDU newspaper daily. You must learn written English from THE HINDU". Such was the effect of THE HINDU for many generations.

So, my language skills vastly improved that I went on to get many prizes in many competitions.

But off late, my friends and THE HINDU associate, who commented in my post, have accused me of my poor English skills.

I do still read THE HINDU daily.

And that exactly was my rant all about!

Update: A representative news report from today's edition of THE HINDU. What next? Muppathamman koil aadi vizha's fashion show winner dresses like Sania Mirza?

November 17, 2005

The Dwindling Hindu...

…news standards really!
Gone are the days, when the national newspaper THE HINDU stood for some strong writing, firm observations, good news reports, assertive reviews. Also, for a news to be mentioned in THE HINDU, it has to have some importance and significance. Gone are those days.

Earlier, I had lamented about an incident as trivial as "Dayanidhi Maran switching on a scanner machine at Meenambakkam airport" qualifying to be an article on THE HINDU

Offlate, the kind of reporting that comes on THE HINDU leaves a lot to be desired. In this age of internet, where people like us have access to news right away, and read several viewpoints - many honest. But on other side, take HINDU newspaper (there is no difference between online and print edition of HINDU. Even DAILY THANTHI and DINA MALAR have district editions, but in HINDU, you get a common edition. But are ready to charge a premium on newspaper cost, and fill up with sub-standard reports.

Ok, why this general outburst?

We used to have decent sports reviews long time back. Very honest view points used to emerge, and some of the articles about game spirit used to be soul-searching. But pick up the newspaper today. It is all about writing "cool" opinions, not honest reviews. For instance, when India lost its first one-dayer to South Africa, it was so apparent that Indian top order had collapsed badly, and the fielding was not up to the standard. But the match report daren't even turn its eye on that aspect of being critical about poor performance. Instead, it waxes eloquently about some good Indian bowling, and the game of Yuvraj singh and after. There is absolutely no mention of a couple of bowlers who were belted mercilessly by Lankan batsmen at Hyderabad. Nothing critical about bad line from such bowlers, the poor fielding form. Come to batting. I know that Indian top order got out so soon, and from middleorder on, people played decently. And all this happened so quick. But I don’t think it would have been so quick that the HINDU reporter would have failed to spot this and report the same. Such reporters do no good to lovers of sports or staunch support readers of HINDU paper or simply, to even HINDU's reputation.

I am not singling out one reporter, but he is one sample for the dwindling standards of HINDU reporting these days.

Ok, is this one-off? Nope.

Some of the political news items pertaining to Tamilnadu, makes me wonder at times -- "Am I reading a MURASOLI or NAMADHU MGR ad feature section?". And then, I frantically search header and footer to see those cute little words called "This is a featured AD". No, oh boy, its an actual news item from so-called "National Unbiased Newspaper"

Spelling mistakes have become so common these days. Adopting modern technology and using Spellchecker software might be supposedly a breeze of task for THE HINDU. But the bane of spellchecker is that wrong words might sit in many places. Legally, they have correct spelling. Cant a national newspaper even take care of such things? 

Page 2 and Metroplus are carrying articles that are of no value and are becoming more and more mere movie-oriented stuffs.

First, TV channels took Tamil people for granted, that public wants only movie related stuffs, and were churning them out in masses. With concepts like SET TOP BOX and SUMANGALI CABLE VISION, the general taste of Tamil public was restricted and exposed only to movie-relates stuffs. It is big money for TV CHANNELS. Why would they want to produce useful stuffs?

Next, was the turn of so-called family magazines like ANANDA VIKATAN (oh, ANANDA VIKATAN is now a SOGAMANA KADAN…and even KUMUDAM seems to be a decent magazine to have in hand these days...but those cringes later…) that are happy to have a feature every week on Nameeta or Asin or Shreya, and generate reams and reams of nonsense about actors and actresses, direct translations of FILMFARE/FEMINA or from some other website. Even humour is borrowed and not original hassyam. Because the other choices of magazines are worse, people accepted what ANANDA VIKATAN had to offer, and ANANDA VIKATAN is happy to concentrate more and more on Nameeta's assets, thus blunting

And in HINDU, editors and reporters want to be so "cool" (Check out "ALMOST FAMOUS" movie which is all about Rock stars, rock journalists and the deteriorating journalism), they do not want to think, they do not want to write with a spine, and we get sub-standard junk (a junk that is sub-standard…can you believe it?) as news reports.

Come on chaps, you are not going to have an arrest warrant issued, just because you thought Indian Cricket Team's top order batted badly and collapsed eventually!

<<Rejoinder: Yes, I know that I need not stick with HINDU, if I feel HINDU is so substandard, and there are more choices availabl and I need not bitch about HINDU. I can either take it or leave it. All that I am aware of!!! Well, I am expressing my aathangam about a degeneratio - like in a TRUE INDIAN SPIRIT >>